Just One Year By Gayle Forman

When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is, Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day, that girl, makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought... The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen, and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

Williem de Ruiter's only memory of that one day is Lulu. If only he could remember her real name.
Waking up battered and bruised, Williem has been admitted to a hospital in Paris, appearing to have been in a fight. All he has is his bag, passport, wallet and a bright, gold wrist watch, which could be crucial to regaining his memory. He knows that there is someone out there waiting for him, but doesn't remember who, or where she is. She's in a white room, the white room, waiting for him. Dread fills Williem as he knows that time isn't on his side, if he waits, he may just be too late.

Williem heads to Celine's club, he needs the familiar and feels that it may be the connection he needs to find Lulu. As his memories slowly unlock, he recalls that Lulu spoke Chinese and left a parting memory behind in his note book, a character that Williem can identify as Double Happiness. Stopping to ask for help, Williem stumbles across a young man wearing the same shirt, Sous ou Sur, hated by the racists and anti fascists, but it isn't why Williem was beaten. The Double Happiness lead is a dead ending, and Williem has no choice but to return to Celine's club, where Lulu's suitcase was being held.

With no name, address and only souvenirs being stored, Lulu's suitcase holds no clue to the girl that now haunts Williem, on the off chance that she returns to collect her belongings, he writes his name and contact information on the blank postcards in her journal. Williem's only option is to return home to Holland, where he hasn't set foot in over two years. His passport has expired, and his adventure has finally come to a halt... For now.

Finally home, Williem finds himself confiding in childhood friend Broodjie, about his travels and losing hope in finding his Lulu. Holland holds memories that Williem has been determined to bury, his emotionally vacant mother, his father Bram's death and the boat he once built for his wife being sold. Broodjie knows that Williem isn't himself, that finding the mystery girl is just a matter of seven degrees of separation. Constructing a poster board, the two relive Williems memories of Lulu and anything they can connect to where she's been and where she might be now. Club owner Celine is out of the question, after making a pass at Williem, she isn't likely to help him find his American girl. Jacques, the captain of the barge the two shared through Paris, or the intoxicated Danes that snapped a photo of the two aboard.The tour company that she was traveling with, remembering that the group had planned to see a play when Williem had suggested Lulu and her friend see Shakespeare, as performed by Guerrilla Will. All Williem has is her gold watch, shady memories and a vague image of a girl resembling actress Louise Brooks.

In a desperate attempt to find her, Williem leaves with Broodjie for Cancun, where Lulu travels each year with her family... But still no Lulu. Losing himself within Mexico, dispondant, Williem tries to reconnect with his mother in India, flying to see the woman that he hasn't seen in three years, his travels leading to a part in a Bollywood movie. Williem leads a charmed life, always falling on his feet, perhaps that's the reason he's so besotted with finding a girl he barely knows... Or can remember.

When he finally returns to Holland, giving up on finding the girl he felt could see past his charming demeanor and see the lost boy who doesn't know where home is. Williem finds himself back in the park, performing Shakespeare over the summer. Little does he release that once he's stopped searching, his captive audience may have just found him. Perhaps Williem will finally realise the meaning of double happiness after all.

Just One Year is the story of Williem, who's story begins after spending one perfect day with American Allyson. Only Williem can't remember. Williem can't recall a smile, a soft touch of her hand, but the rest alludes him. As he retraces his steps, the memories of Lulu become clearer, except for her name. Is he falling in love with that one perfect day, or the girl behind it?

Gayle Forman has created another brilliant adventure romance, taking us to several corners of the globe. Her descriptions of the surroundings immerse readers within the world she's created, sweeping us up in the romanticism of her characters. I was itching for Allyson and Williem's story to continue and keeping my fingers crossed for a third book for the ultimate happily ever after.

Just One Year
(Just One Day: Book Two)
Written By Gayle Forman
Expected Publication 10 / 10 / 2013
336 Pages

Thank you to one of my fellow bloggers and Random House.
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